AS A CONCEPT, Friends with Kids is the worst conceivable variation on "friends with benefits." It's sex one time and with all the consequences. Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are upper-middle-class thirtysomethings in New York who are the last in their social circle to marry and procreate. Convinced the chaos of childrearing sucks the romance out of relationships, the pair hit upon the idea of avoiding the difficulty of emotional entanglements by having a child together. This will leave them free to explore their options in the dating pool.
The plan works at first. The best pals split the responsibility of raising little Joe while Jason dates a beautiful young dancer (Megan Fox) and Julie sees a handsome divorced man (Ed Burns) with kids of his own. When one goes out, the other babysits. It's perfect. Except Friends with Kids is essentially a relationship comedy, and no relationship is without complications.
Friends with Kids is funny and crass and, at times, more than a little schmaltzy. Yet, there's something refreshing about seeing grownups talk about grown-up things in real ways. As writer and director, Westfeldt finds both humor and emotion in this unconventional scenario. She has assembled a dream team of Bridesmaids alumni to play the rest of this East Coast clique. Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd are harried parents of two making their way as best they can, while Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm play a couple who have lost all passion for one another. The performers share a comfortable rapport, and Adam Scott is great as a more piggish version of his usual likeable self. Honestly, Westfeldt is the only weak link here, but the sign of a good team is how well the other players work to make sure she gets the job done.